Opeongo Hills hosts first Loppet

BRUDENELL – It was a beautiful sunny day as cross-country skiers made their way to the Opeongo Hills Nordic Ski Club trails for the first ever Loppet on January 31.

Nearly 30 skiers showed up for the informal, friendly competition; though room for children’s categories and a five kilometer route were provided, all registrants signed up for either 10 or 20 kilometer events in both men’s and women’s categories.

A little over two weeks before the race, there wasn’t a lot of snow on the ground, and a small handful of people had pre-registered.

But that didn’t dampen the spirits of the organizers and staff.

“It’s kind of normal for a Loppet to happen last-minute,” laughed Beth Kennedy of the Opeongo Nordic Hills Ski Club.

Talk about last-minute: barely 24 hours before the event began, heavy snowfall dumped a blanket of fresh powder on the trails. Though an exciting prospect for the club and cross-country skiers, it meant they’d have a lot of work to do grooming the trails.

“Grooming is a big deal, they don’t want to ski in bad tracks,” shared Kennedy.

Grooming continued on the trails until close to midnight on January 30. The results were incredible, and the post-snow landscape was stunning the next morning, just in time for the race.

But what is a Loppet, anyhow? 

Get your February 4, 2015 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.